Union appeals ruling that upholds firing of officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice

This is the second time the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association has taken action on Timothy Loehmann's behalf


Adam Ferrise
Advance Ohio Media

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland’s police union will appeal a judge’s ruling that upheld the firing of former police officer Timothy Loehmann, the officer who killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Attorneys for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, Marisa Serrat and Henry Hilow, filed the notice of appeal Jan. 3 in the Eighth District Court of Appeals. No hearing dates or filing deadlines have been set as of Tuesday.

The union is appealing Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Russo’s Dec. 18 ruling that upheld an arbitrator’s decision that Loehmann should remain fired, not for shooting Tamir, but for lying on his job application for the Cleveland police department. The city fired Loehmann May 30, 2017.

“We will continue pursuing all legal remedies for Timothy Loehmann,” Hilow said. “We think our appeal has merit and look forward to having a review by the court of appeals.”

Union representatives vowed for years to fight discipline handed down against Loehmann and partner Frank Garmback. Garmback was initially suspended 10 days without pay for his role in the Tamir shooting, but an arbitrator cut the discipline in half.

Appealing an arbitrator’s legally-binding decision is typically an uphill battle. To overturn a ruling, a judge or panel of appeals judges must find that an arbitrator was corrupt or fraudulent in making a decision, that the arbitrator was biased in making a decision or that there was misconduct in the hearing.

Union attorneys previously argued that arbitrator James Rimmel failed to establish a clear burden of proof before the hearing and that the city violated Loehmann’s due-process rights because the city began the disciplinary process so far after the shooting, among other arguments.

City attorneys argued that Rimmel’s decision was fair and “well-reasoned.”

Loehmann fatally shot Tamir as the 12-year-old boy played with a pellet gun Nov. 22, 2014, outside the Cudell Recreation Center.

Officers were responding to a report of someone with a gun outside the rec center. A 911 caller told a police dispatcher that the gun looked fake, but that information was never relayed to the officers

Garmback, who was Loehmann’s training officer, drove his car within feet of Tamir. Loehmann shot the 12-year-old boy almost immediately after he got out of the car.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Loehmann or Garmback in connection with Tamir’s death.

Loehmann was fired because he failed to disclose that the Independence Police Department dismissed him after determining he was unfit to serve on its department. His personnel file from that job noted that he broke down and cried on the shooting range.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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